Choose ONE of the following questions to write your paper (4-5 pages) after viewing “Julius Caesar” with Marlon Brando.
1. Though Julius Caesar focuses on the struggles between powerful men, what role do the plebeians, or common people, play? Are they as fickle as Flavius and Murellus claim in the opening scene? How important is their support to the successes of the various military leaders and the outcome of the play? The play depicts Rome at a time of transition between republic and empireâ€”a time in which, theoretically, the Roman people are losing their power. What role do the people themselves play in this transition?
2. Consider Brutusâ€™s actions. Is he right to join the conspiracy against Caesar? What are his reasons? Does he choose to join the conspiracy, or is he tricked by Cassius? How do Cassiusâ€™s motivations compare to Brutusâ€™s? Are they more noble or less noble?
3. Julius Caesar, a play about statehood and leadership, is one of the most quoted of Shakespeareâ€™s plays in modern-day political speeches. Why do you think this play about conspiracy and assassination might appeal to politicians today? Also, discuss Caesar, as an aging, heirless leader.
4. Discuss friendship in the play. Consider Caesar and Brutus, Caesar and Antony, Brutus and Cassius, Antony and Octavius, or any other pairings. Are these true friendships or merely political alliances forged for the sake of convenience and self-preservation? How do they compare with the heterosexual relationships in the playâ€”the relations between husbands and wives? Are they more profound or less profound, more revealing or less revealing of their participantsâ€™ characters?
5. Who is the protagonist in this play? Is it Caesar, who dies well before the end but whose power and name continue on? Or is it Brutus, the noble man who falls because of his tragic flaws?
6. Consider theatricality in this play. Think particularly of the scene of Caesarâ€™s murder (and Cassiusâ€™s reference to future productions of the scene), the speeches in the Forum (particularly Antonyâ€™s), and the speeches given over the dead conspirators. How do acting and rhetoric affect the events of the play? How do they interact with politics? Does the play reference its own political power as a theatrical production?